Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Innovation: Automated Parking Garage by Paul Stolzer

A fully mechanized garage that parks and retrieves cars in minutes, using pallets that move vertically and horizontally through a grid to cut the space needed roughly in half.

Smartphone app redirects road rage directly to Congress

A national transportation advocacy group co-chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell will unveil a smartphone app today that allows people who are stuck in traffic to quickly email their congressional representatives to express their displeasure.
The free "I'm Stuck" app will be introduced by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials who support increased investment in the nation's infrastructure.

Driverless tractors till German high-tech farm

As the harvest nears, the employees of German farmer Klaus Muenchhoff are busy making the final checks on imposing tractors ready to roll into the golden fields.
But these tractors are steel monsters with a difference -- driverless and satellite-guided, they can operate on the fields with an accuracy of a few centimetres (inches).
Impervious to fatigue and indifferent to poor visibility, they reduce distances travelled by each vehicle, saving their owner fuel costs and improving crop yields.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fake Signs On Bay Area Highways Say Drones Looking For Speeders

Several signs have cropped up on Bay Area highways, telling drivers that drones are enforcing speed limits. The California Highway Patrol told KPIX 5 the signs are fakes and that they do not have drones.
“As people are driving by and they see something like this, it’s definitely a distraction,” said Officer Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.

Smarter Cars : How Cloud is Revolutionizing the World of Automobiles

Though we’re still years away from having fully autonomous cars on the streets, that doesn’t mean that companies aren’t working on ways to make the act of driving cars as technologically advanced as possible.
Pimping a car is no longer just about spinning rims, lush interiors and a flashy paint job.  Now, it’s all about connecting to the cloud, and other ingenuities that would allow your car to do more than just get you from point A to B.

6 must-download cool car apps

With these free or cheap apps, you can drive safely, park your car without circling, find affordable gas, and even locate repair shops you can trust. Plus, we mention similar apps so you can pick and choose.

Modeling Vehicle-to-Vehicle Line of Sight Channels and its Impact on Application-Level Performance Metrics

Carnegie Mellon University has released a report that analyzes line of sight channels in vehicle-to-vehicle communication by using measurements from open space, highway, suburban, and urban environments.

Roadway Safety Culture Summit

TRB is sponsoring the Roadway Safety Culture Summit on August 20-21, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The national summit will explore needs and potential strategies that might help support efforts to advance the roadway safety culture across the United States. The summit will focus on the potential impacts of the safety culture on reducing the number and severity of crashes on our nation’s roadways by examining issues such as social norms theory and the positive community norms framework.

FAA Certifies First 2 Types Of Drones For Civilian Use

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday the drones are Insitu's Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment's PUMA. Both weigh less than 55 pounds, are about 4.5 feet long and have wingspans of 9 to 10 feet.
A major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast starting in August to survey ice floes and migrating whales. The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Speeding into the RideShare Market, Uber Prepares for New Legal Questions

Uber, the increasingly ubiquitous ‘push a button, get a ride’ company, is expanding its UberX service into iconic Silicon Valley. The first passenger — Uber pronounced him “Rider Zero” — was Aaron Levie, CEO of the Los Altos cloud-storage firm Box. Levine rode to a lunch meeting.
Now, if “Uber” and “UberX” elide in your mind, you’re not alone. And Uber’s marketing materials don’t help much. On the company’s website, UberX is defined as “the convenience of Uber at a lower price with mid-range cars in a variety of colors.” The key phrase in that description is “mid-range cars.” (Picture your brother’s forest green Honda Civic.) Über Uber, if you will, focuses on fancy cars and, in the words of Uber’s charismatic CEO Travis Kalanick, a hunger to travel the city in “baller” style.

Smart Streets Soon Will Know You're Walking On Them

Cities are using microradar to count bicyclists, and they may soon be detecting pedestrians, too, as America’s transportation agencies follow a public migration away from the automobile and toward alternate modes of transporation.
“We want to be able to measure bikes, pedestrians, transit users, everybody. We’re no longer just going to measure cars,” said Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein at the Complete Streets Symposium in Chicago Thursday.

RHex the 'Parkour robot' leaps across buildings

A RUNNING, acrobatic robot hops and leaps across buildings in this incredible video.
In a paper about RHex the robot, University of Pennsylvania's Aaron Johnson and Daniel Koditcschek, say they have been teaching the robot Parkour to get the most out of his simple, one-jointed legs.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sprint’s LTE rollout finally makes its way to New York (parts, at least)

Sprint also revealed it is joining AT&T and T-Mobile in setting up shop in NYC’s subway system as part of Transit Wireless’s project to flood the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s underground stations with cellular signals.

SHRP 2 Project Brief: Innovations in Freight Demand Modeling and Data

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has released a project brief that summarizes SHRP 2 Capacity project C20: Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Strategic Plan, which documented the current state of the practice for freight demand modeling and the data required for effective freight modeling, data collection, and decision making.

Poll: Pittsburghers favor rapid bus service between Downtown and Oakland

After railing for years against the region's last major transit project, two-thirds of Pittsburghers support a proposed $200 million project to develop rapid bus service between Downtown and Oakland, the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation said Wednesday.

IEEE ITS Society Newsletter Vol. 15, No. 3, July 2013

The latest issue of the ITSS Newsletter is now available for download 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NTSB calls for wireless technology to let all vehicles 'talk' to each other

Federal safety authorities Tuesday called for all U.S. cars, trucks and buses to come equipped with technology that would allow them to "talk" to one another to help avoid accidents.
The proposal was one of three the National Transportation Safety Board made Tuesday in its investigation of two school bus accidents last year.

Coast Guard uses cutter-based UAV in cocaine bust

The Coast Guard conducted a 2 week deployment of a small unmanned aerial vehicle onboard the National Security Cutter USCG Bertholf, logging more than 90 hours of flight time, the service announced earlier this month.
The UAV, a ScanEagle built by a Boeing subsidiary, aided in the interdiction of nearly 600 kilograms of cocaine, "the first Coast Guard interdiction conducted with the support of an embarked UAS asset," the service says.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mecca To Be Smart City - Mayor

Mecca, one of Islam's holiest cities, is being turned into a smart city through a massive upgrading exercise carried out by the Saudi Arabian government since the end of last year's Haj season.  The plan that includes housing, transportation, catering, shopping and historical sites will ensure that Muslims from all over the world can have a safe and nice journey when they perfom Haj or Umrah in this holy city.

Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari Visits Morgan

Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation John Porcari was on the campus of Morgan State University yesterday where he spoke to a group attending Morgan’s annual Summer Transportation Institutes for high school students and secondary school teachers. Deputy Secretary Porcari fielded questions about job opportunities for emerging engineers and specialists, and why the industry needs more young people for future growth.

Improvement of Visual Road Condition Data

The New Zealand Transport Agency has released a report that investigates the effectiveness of the current road condition rating system in improving the accuracy and confidence of data collected.

A Framework for Monitoring the Performance of Travel Demand Management and Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction Activities

The Washington State Department of Transportation has released a report that presents a framework for supporting performance monitoring of demand management related to vehicle miles traveled reduction activities.

7th International Visualization in Transportation Symposium: Visualization for Big Data

TRB is sponsoring the 7th International Visualization in Transportation Symposium: Visualization for Big Data on October 23-25, 2013, in Irvine, California. The goal of the 2013 Symposium is to advance innovation in visualization for transportation applications through the exchange of information, to create a collaborative environment that promotes ideas for action that evolves our ability to address those needs, and to foster the integration of visualization into mainstream practice.

Nigeria: C'river, MTN Partner On N1 Billion Broadband Facility

In addition to this infrastructure, MTN would site an additional 99 base stations to improve wireless services in the State in 2013 and similar numbers in 2014 and 2015. It would also support the development of various third party services enabled by broadband such as city-wide wifi, access to various government services, e-ticketing, smart transport, smart education, smart health, e-tourism and ultimately the creation of Nigeria's first smart city.

High-tech transit is vital to Valley's growth, future

The Valley is one region especially poised for this opportunity. It has a light-rail system, which has been expanding since its introduction in 2008. But, as one of the fastest-growing states in the country and as a member of the 15 largest metro areas in the U.S., the need for infrastructure that can support quality of life for its citizens and economic growth is paramount.
And, the opportunities are here and ready for action. From its “Reinvent Phoenix” initiative, a planning process for five “urban” districts around the light-rail system, to the proposed citywide bike-share program to lessen traffic congestion and reduce CO2 emissions, Phoenix and the Valley are ready to lead the way.

Transportation Insider: City might soon have Smart cars for rent

The rumor mill has been buzzing for months about whether a car-sharing service would come to Columbus.
Turns out, there might be some fire to go with that smoke.
Car2Go, which offers car sharing in eight U.S. cities, has been making presentations to neighborhood groups in Columbus and has circulated a proposed service-area map.
The company provides Smart cars at 38 cents a mile for the first 150 miles and 45 cents a mile after that on top of a $35 one-time registration fee...
 “With the launch of CoGo Bike Share in Columbus this week, we believe car2go will serve as a perfect complement to this exciting new transportation service,” Paul DeLong said in an email.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Unsolicited P3 Transportation Proposals will be Submitted for P3Board Approval

Pennsylvania’s Office of Public Private Partnerships has announced that it has received six unsolicited proposals for transportation projects, two of which will be considered by the P3 board this fall.  In early May, PennDOT announced that it was accepting proposals from the private sector on innovative ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including roads, bridges, rail, aviation and ports.

Eyes on the road: Traffic management systems expanding

Along a 19-mile stretch of I-10 in Leon County, city of Tallahassee traffic managers now have new tools in place that indicate how well cars and trucks are moving along the highway — and what could be happening if they aren’t.
For those same motorists, the traffic technology has the capability to inform them of what delays or hazards are ahead so they can adjust their route or make other plans.
The additional devices in the field, paid for under an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation, are the latest application of ITS — intelligent transportation systems. The better that traffic managers can detect problems on the road and respond to them, the less delay travelers encounter.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

AT&T teams up with SiriusXM to bring mobile services to Nissan

If the future car is a smartphone on wheels, Nissans are signing up with AT&T.
AT&T has agreed to provide mobile connectivity to SiriusXM Radio for a suite of in-vehicle support services in Nissan automobiles in North America. The telematics -- or informational telecommunications systems in road vehicles -- from SiriusXM provide such things as emergency support after an accident, stolen vehicle tracking, and roadside assistance, with additional services on the way.

Pittsburgh City Council Considers Red Light Cameras

In Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., if you run a red light and nobody sees it, you might think you got away with it. But you didn’t.
Red light cameras are installed there and you could face a $100 ticket sent in the mail with a picture of your car in the intersection, having gone through the light.
Pittsburgh City Council is considering it here.

Soon, 'talking' cars to ease traffic congestion

They have already developed a model to improve the clarity of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) transmissions needed to make that concept a reality. "The model helps us understand how the V2V signals are distorted. And understanding how the signal may be distorted allows you to design a signal that is less likely to become distorted in the first place," says Dr Dan Stancil, head of North Carolina State University's Department of Electrical and computer Engineering and co-author of a paper on the work.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tesla's Elon Musk says Hyperloop rail design is coming soon

Never one to think small, tech mogul Elon Musk -- founder of Tesla Motors and Space X -- says he's working on a "fifth mode" of transportation that can zip you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.
"Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated," Musk said in a tweet, which he prefers to the news release or the interview. A Tesla spokeswoman said Musk would have no further comment.
The Hyperloop, Musk has said previously and cryptically, would resemble a "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table."  He’s also said it would be immune to both crashes and inclement weather conditions, suggesting it would be fully enclosed.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Using Auctions to Allocate Transportation Requests for Demand Responsive Transit System

The METRANS Transportation Center, a joint partnership of the University of Southern California and California State University, Long Beach, has released a report that considers online cost-sharing problems and mechanisms in demand-responsive transit systems.

Integrating Transit with Road Pricing Projects

The Florida Department of Transportation has released a report that examines the amount of attention given to public transportation during implementation of managed lane highway projects.

Innovator: July/August 2013

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its Innovator newsletter, which is designed to help advance widespread implementation of innovations and technologies in the highway community and help chronicle a nationwide movement to improve the way highways are built.

Active Traffic Management for Arterials

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 447: Active Traffic Management for Arterials explores practices associated with the design, implementation, and operation of active traffic management (ATM) on arterial roadways. ATM includes a suite of strategies that are used to manage traffic flow in order enhance capacity and safety.

Transit GIS Conference

TRB is cosponsoring the Transit GIS Conference on October 16-17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The mission of the biennial conference is to provide a forum for geographic information systems (GIS) in transit professionals and other key industry stakeholders to share innovative GIS solutions, industry best practices, and new technologies. The conference is also designed to explore ways to use GIS to improve the safety, reliability, sustainability, and operation of public transportation.

The Drive: Smart Lanes have Twin Cities drivers guessing

It’s been about a year since electronic signs that display real-time information about individual lanes appeared on I-94 and I-35W, but drivers haven’t fully figured out the messages they’re getting.
Over the past few weeks, questions about the signs — and especially about the speed limits they display — have landed in the Drive’s mailbag. Today, I’ll answer a couple of the most asked.
The monitors, as some commuters call them, are Lane Control Signals and are part of what the Minnesota Department of Transportation calls “Smart Lane technology.”

Where Car Is King, Smartphones May Cut Traffic

But now licensed cabdrivers in this city where the car remains king are facing their greatest competition in half a century, from new ride-sharing programs that use smartphone apps to connect drivers and passengers.
At the end of a night of drinking recently, rather than hailing a cab, Trisha DiFazio tapped an app called Lyft on her phone to summon a ride. Minutes later, a graduate student moonlighting as a driver pulled up in a Toyota S.U.V. with Lyft’s signature pink mustache affixed to its grille.
“This is so much cheaper than a cab, and so much easier,” said Ms. DiFazio, 31. “I absolutely think my friends drink and drive less because of this.” 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bloomberg’s Traffic Ideas: First the World, Then, Maybe, the City

Though often hamstrung at home by headstrong state lawmakers, an entrenched taxi industry and a city in which even a single bike lane can inspire years of litigation, Mr. Bloomberg has found success overseas in pushing — and financing — a global transportation agenda during his final years as the mayor of New York City.
Since 2007, Mr. Bloomberg’s charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, has committed more than $130 million toward traffic policy and road safety worldwide, outstripping donations for every cause except the reduction of tobacco use. 

IBM, Cisco ‘Top Smart City Technology Vendors’

The firm forecasts that the global smart city technology market will grow from $6.1 billion in annual revenue in 2012 to $20.2 billion by 2020. Smart cities integrate technology into a strategic approach to sustainability, Navigant Research says.
Five segments are the focus for smart city investment: smart energy, smart water, smart transportation, smart buildings and smart government...

The report profiles these vendors and ranks the top 10, which are:
  1. IBM
  2. Cisco
  3. Schneider Electric
  4. Siemens
  5. Hitachi
  6. Accenture
  7. Toshiba
  8. General Electric
  9. Oracle
  10. Capgemini

Robots a tool for safer infrastructure

Now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Non-destructive Testing, in Germany, have come up with a crawling robot that is capable of testing load-bearing cables and tethers of bridges, elevators and cable cars.

eMarketer cuts mobile payment predictions in half, says market stifled by ‘congestion’

The “explosion” of mobile payments is more like a distant rumbling.
Research firm eMarketer has cut its estimated growth for proximity mobile payments in half. The firm forecasted in October that mobile payments would reach $2.12 billion in 2013. Today it released new figures which predict that volume for this year will hit $1 billion.
Mobile payment transactions more than tripled from 2011 to 2012, but eMarketer scaled back its initial growth estimates after seeing delays and adoption issues with mobile wallet initiatives and a “congested landscape” of competing technologies.

CMU makes second round of national competition to build robot to aid in disaster zones

CHIMP, with its vague resemblance to its simian namesake, is designed to imitate humans at disaster sites that are too dangerous for them.
And with a tight deadline to prepare CHIMP for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge in December, Carnegie Mellon University roboticists have no time to monkey around.
CHIMP, created by CMU's Tartan Rescue Team at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville, has advanced in the U.S. Department of Defense's robotics challenge to develop a mobile robot able to help mitigate conditions where heat, fumes, radiation and other hazards are obstacles.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tech-Savvy Cities May Be 'Smart,' But Are They Wise?

This summer, NPR's Cities Project has been looking at how cities around the world are solving problems using new technologies. And though there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, New York University's Anthony Townsend remains skeptical.
Townsend, whose book Smart Cities is due out in October, tells NPR's David Greene about the causes, benefits and potential dangers of the smart city boom.

Team DARwIn Receives First Place at RoboCup World Championships

University of Pennsylvania - Team DARwIn has held true to its reputation of robotic soccer dominance, returning to the U.S. the winners of the 2013 RoboCup World Championships in the Humanoid Kid-Size League for the third straight year (not even Lebron James can say that!).
Team members who traveled to the competition in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, include engineering undergraduates Alan Aquino (CMPE); Dickens He (EE); Tatenda Mushonga (MEAM); SAS undergraduate Chris Akatsuka; master's student Yida Zhang (SSE); Robotics master's students Richa Agrawal, Samarth Brahmbhatt and Vibhavari Dasagi; doctoral student Steve McGill (ESE); and postdoctoral fellow Seung-Joon Yi. The team is advised by Dan Lee, professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and director of the GRASP Lab.

Kansas University Researchers Study Use of Blue Light

Researchers at the University of Kansas are experimenting with using a blue light to help law enforcement officers nab red light runners.
Here’s how the system works: Blue lights come on when traffic signals turns red, providing a visual clue to officers. The university says the blue light is visible from 360 degrees. That way even if officers can’t directly see the traffic signal change, they can still know that a motorist ran a red light.

Chinese institute develops 100 megapixel camera

Its high sensitivity and high dynamic range (HDR) features mean it will be useful in high-resolution imaging in the fields of aerial mapping, city planning, disaster monitoring and intelligent transportation systems, the statement said.
Intelligent transportation system is aimed to provide innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management, enabling various users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated, and ‘smarter’ use of transport networks.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Snake-bot slithers through nuclear power plant in mobility test

Video: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing snake robots that can climb into hard-to-reach places, from the crevices between walls, to the small pockets inside the human body. Matt Rivera reports.

AUVSI Foundation and ONR's 16th International RoboSub Competition

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR),the goal of this competition is to advance the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) by challenging a new generation of engineers to perform realistic missions in an underwater environment.  The event also serves to foster ties between young engineers and the organizations developing AUV technologies.
The Annual RoboSub Competition is an important key to keeping young engineers excited about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math and has been tremendously successful in recruiting students into the high-tech field of maritime robotics.

UTS developing robotic ‘Skype on wheels’

The University of Technology, Sydney Centre for Autonomous Systems (UTS CAS) is developing a robotic ‘Skype on wheels’ device that can assist elderly and disabled people.
Funded by the IRT Research Foundation, the wheelchair, walker, hoist and telepresence device works the same way an electronic stability system does in a car.

Sprint, IBM want to connect your phone to your car through the cloud

As with other vehicle telematics platform, Velocity can turn a smartphone into a remote control that could, for instance, remotely unlock a car’s doors or start its engine. But IBM and Sprint are building up service layer between the smartphone and car in the cloud, one that can store diagnostic information and driver preferences and put it to use across of variety in-vehicle and external apps.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Robot, please take the wheel

Imagine the day when instead of sneaking a quick text message at a light, you can text the entire commute. Spend time online, playing games and reaching your destination safely and perfectly parallel parking, too.  Google has been developing the driverless car and so has Carnegie Mellon University and a number of car makers. It is expected that by 2020, a lot of cars on the roads will be without a driver.

USDOT ITS Strategic Plan: Webinar Series Announcement Stakeholder Engagement Webinars

he U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Strategic Planning process is underway. As we look toward the next five years, and build on the progress of the current plan, the USDOT will continue to engage stakeholders in our ITS research, development and education efforts. The next ITS Strategic Plan is focused on developing a blueprint for how the Department will allocate federal ITS research funds during the second half of this decade and today we announce a series of webinars as part of the ITS strategic planning process. The webinars are an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input and perspectives that are necessary for the development of the plan.

Investigating Regional Dynamic Traffic Assignment Modeling for Improved Bottleneck Analysis: Final Report

The Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin has released a report that addresses dynamic traffic assignment modeling on roadway networks as a way to improve vehicular flow patterns.

Use of Advance Geospatial Data, Tools, Technologies, and Information in Department of Transportation Projects

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 446: Use of Advance Geospatial Data, Tools, Technologies, and Information in Department of Transportation Projects that explores the development, documentation, and introduction of advanced geospatial technologies within departments of transportation.  The report also provides a discussion of strengths and weaknesses of leading technologies, and how they are being used today.

TRB’s SHRP 2 Tuesdays Webinar: Establishing Monitoring Programs for Mobility and Travel Time Reliability (L02)

As part of the SHRP2 Tuesdays Webinar Series, TRB will conduct a webinar on August 6, 2013 from 2:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. ET that will explore the project Establishing Monitoring Programs for Travel Time Reliability, which provides concepts and procedures that public agencies can use to design systems to build, maintain, operate, and monitor travel-time reliability.

Monday, July 8, 2013

App store in the driver's seat: Here comes your next car

If smartphones can have app stores, why not cars?
That's the thinking of at least some of the big automakers as they work to build the foundation for curated selections of car-centric apps that can be purchased directly from the vehicle's in-dash monitor.

Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities

A self-driving car at Carnegie Mellon. Researchers have been contemplating how cities could change if our cars start driving for us, including having narrower streets because parking spots might not be necessary...
 By now, seeing one of Google’s experimental, driverless cars zipping down Silicon Valley’s Highway 101, or parking itself on a San Francisco street, is not all that unusual. Indeed, as automakers like Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz make plans for self-driving vehicles, it is only a matter of time before such cars become a big part of the great American traffic jam.
While driverless cars might still seem like science fiction outside the Valley, the people working and thinking about these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future. The short answer is “a lot.”

Friday, July 5, 2013

In Tel Aviv, Nasty Traffic and Navigation Apps Go Hand in Hand

Tomer Neuner conceived of the Parko app when he was hunting for a parking space in Tel Aviv, circling his neighborhood on a sweltering summer day. “I thought to myself, there’s got to be a way to make the search more efficient for everyone,” says Neuner, 30, who quit his job as a product manager at financial-technology company SuperDerivatives to develop the app. Parko learns users’ habits by tracking their phones and predicts when they’re about to vacate a spot, alerting other drivers in the area.

3 upstarts fight gridlock with smart traffic tools

Smart transportation helps commuters – whether they are driving or using public transit alternatives – made more informed decisions about what route to take. They alert people proactively, warning about situations such as construction that might affect roadways.
The Waze mobile app, available for both the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones, takes a community-edited approach to providing real-time map and roadway information. "It's like a personal heads-up from a few million of your friends on the road," the company explains on its blog.


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $3.0 million of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 research funds for innovative research, development, and demonstration projects targeting Bus Efficiency Enhancements, specifically enhanced Electrification of Accessories, and improvements in Thermal Management of Bus Bodies.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kansas Highlights UAS Use for Agriculture

Officials from Kansas State University demonstrated how unmanned aircraft can benefit agriculture, flying two types of UAS that can be used for crop monitoring, pest evaluation, rangeland assessment and harmful algae blooms.
The demonstration, held 2 July, was conducted at the state’s Crisis City facility near Salina, which has various manmade and natural disaster scenarios and is used for first responder training.
The KSU officials flew a homegrown fixed-wing aircraft the school is developing as a commercial product for farmers and an off-the-shelf Aeryon Scout quadrotor. KSU also demonstrated another student-developed aircraft.
As AUVSI’s recent economic forecast indicated, UAS are expected to have a huge impact in the world of agriculture, which is expected to be the largest commercial market for the systems.

Meet Robot Carp, a robot fish with autonomous 3-D movement

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering has developed a robot fish that mimics the movements of a carp. This robot which is essentially an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is ready for applications, as it can be programmed to perform specific functions, for example, for underwater archaeology such as exploring nooks and corners of wreckage -- or sunken city which are difficult for divers or traditional AUVs to access. Other applications include military activities, pipeline leakage detection, and the laying of communication cable.

Driverless, autonomous tractor poised to hit the field running

If it looks like a tractor, sounds like a tractor and smells like a tractor, it’s a tractor, right?
But, what if it doesn’t look like a tractor and doesn’t even have a driver, yet performs all the duties of a tractor and more?

Then, it’s an autonomous tractor. And, it may be coming to a field near you.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2014 Ed Bacon Student Design Competition - How Will Driverless Cars Shape the Philadelphia of Tomorrow?

Pre-Registration Deadline: 11:59PM, October 3, 2013
Competition Takes Place: October 04 - November 01, 2013
Recent major advances in driverless technology mean automobiles and their infrastructures are likely to transform American cities in the coming century. What will Philadelphia look like in this future? How will roadways, sidewalks, intersections, signage, traffic signals, and the relationship between buildings, roadways, pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles change? We challenge university-level students to re-imagine the right of way occupied by intelligent automobiles and the associated impact on urban design.

Has Motorization in the U.S. Peaked?

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has released a report that examines trends in the numbers of light-duty vehicles in the U.S. fleet.

Volpe News

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, has released the latest edition of its newsletter designed to feature events and research produced by the Center. Part of the U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Volpe staff partner with public and private organizations to assess the needs of the transportation community, evaluate research and development, assist in the deployment of transportation technologies, and inform decision- and policy-making.

Governor's School for Sciences reopens at CMU due to donations

The rebirth was made possible by an ambitious group of alumni from the Governor's School for the Sciences who have spent the past four years fundraising to cover costs.
The group raised $150,000 from private and corporate sponsors, an amount that was matched in a grant from the state Department of Education to provide the funding necessary to operate the program. It is the only one of the eight previous governor's schools to be reinstated.
The largest donors to the program are EQT Corp., AT&T, PPG and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The first governor's school in Pennsylvania was the school for the arts founded in 1973. The Governor's School for the Sciences was started at CMU in 1982 and ran through 2008.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Detroit, Embracing New Auto Technologies, Seeks App Builders

General Motors, newly flush with cash after emerging from bankruptcy, is on a hiring binge, quadrupling its information technology staff and recruiting software developers to create a spate of apps for its 2014 model-year vehicles. While the hiring is taking place across the country, many of the new recruits will be working out of the Detroit area.
The Ford Motor Company plans to fill 300 positions in information technology this year, said Laura Kurtz, Ford’s manager of United States recruiting. The Chrysler Group, which declined to specify its plans, said it would hire more entry-level workers and was focused on attracting a highly skilled work force. 

Advancing NJDOT’s Direct Connection with Intelligent Transportation Systems

ITS is being employed in southern New Jersey as a traffic mitigation tool to enhance traffic safety and operations during construction of the U.S. Route 295 / Route 42 / Interstate I-76 (Interchange) Direct Connection project. This interchange serves as a gateway for travel to and from Philadelphia and Camden by people who live in this part of New Jersey. It has had a poor crash history due in part because its outdated design is no longer capable of safely accommodating over 250,000 vehicles per day.

Call for Papers – SAE 2014 World Congress

Call for Papers – SAE 2014 World Congress
April 8-10, 2014
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Cobo Center
Call for Papers is now open for the 2014 World Congress!
Abstracts are due by September 1, 2013.


The Innovator: Robots invade the children’s nursery

One company in the vanguard of the rise of the friendly robots is Anki, a start-up that launched onstage at this month’s Apple developer conference in San Francisco, after raising $50m. Boris Sofman, co-founder and chief executive, raced four small cars around a special mat, controlled over Bluetooth by an iPhone. So far, so 21st-century Scalextric. But, like a video game brought to life, none of the cars was being driven by a person. Each was given its own mission – to overtake another car, say – and used artificial intelligence to try to beat its opponent. The toys use a camera sensor to position themselves on the track, make thousands of calculations a second to decide what to do, then act on that reasoning.
Sofman and his fellow roboticists used their experience building much larger autonomous vehicles at Carnegie Mellon University to create Anki Drive. Drive will be the first Anki product to go on sale this autumn.

Deadline for rearview cameras pushed to 2015

The Obama administration is again delaying regulations that could require new cars and trucks to come equipped with rearview cameras to protect against drivers backing over people in blind spots behind their vehicles, a victory for automakers who say the cameras are too costly.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday in letters to three members of Congress that more research is needed. He set a new deadline of January 2015 for the regulations.

Check Out MPC’s New Video Introducing Bus Rapid Transit to Chicagoans

The Metropolitan Planning Council has put together this easy-to-understand video that lays out the many benefits of BRT: 80-percent-faster bus access to work, school, shopping and medical appointments; reduced congestion and emissions; safer, more pleasant walking conditions; and more prosperous, vibrant business districts. The spot features Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, CTA Chief Planning Officer Rebekah Scheinfeld, Illinois Medical District Director Warren Ribley and Teamwork Englewood Tech Organizer Demond Drummer.

Smart Communities are the Heart of the Smart City Machine

Social apps provide an opportunity to build smart communities by pulling together citizens based on location and interests, and harnessing the power of the collective group.
These social-local-mobile apps (creatively named SoLoMo) have been generating a lot of buzz lately, but what exactly are they, and how will they change daily life within your city? SoLoMo refers to mobile-first apps that innately leverage a user's GPS location to deliver contextual information, often within a social network environment. The simplest example is a check-in platform like Foursquare. But the smart cities of the future will be formed by applications that go well beyond location check-ins... to introduce neighbors, classmates, and co-workers, and actually knit the social threads of a community together through its citizens.

MIT researchers can see through walls using 'Wi-Vi'

Researchers at MIT are experimenting with a system called Wi-Vi, which they say can track moving objects through walls by using the inexpensive, nearly ubiquitous wireless system. Wi-Vi could be built into a smartphone or a special handheld device and used in search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement, according to Dina Katabi, the MIT professor who developed Wi-Vi along with graduate student Fadel Adib.